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    Learning About Your Health

    Patient Safety for You and Your Baby

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    Note: Please read this handout with your family or support person.

    Important Patient Safety Tips

    1. Participate in your medical care and all decisions about your treatment. Write down questions for your doctor or nurse. Ask for written information about your medical condition and treatment. Make sure you understand all the information you get.

    2. Ask a family member or friend to be your "advocate." Choose an advocate who can sometimes speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself, who can come to your appointments to help ask questions and who can provide support while you get your care.

    3. Read all medical forms carefully. Ask your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about the forms you are signing, such as consents for surgery. Get answers to your questions before you sign any forms.

    4. Make sure your health care provider checks your identity (I.D.). Your I.D. is the name on your I.D. band as well as your medical record number and/or birthday. Your health care provider should check your I.D. band before giving you any medicine, drawing blood or sending you for tests, treatments or procedures. After delivery, your health care provider should check your baby's I.D. band with your I.D. band every time they give your baby to you. Your baby will not be given to anyone who does not have a matching I.D. band.

    5. Before any surgery, test or procedure, review the correct procedure and operation site with the staff. The staff will ask you to confirm your name and the surgery or procedure you are having before they begin.

    6. Move around safely in your hospital room to prevent falls:

      • Call the staff to help you the first time you get up after your delivery.

      • Make sure you can reach your call light before the medical staff leaves the room.

      • Turn on your call light before you get out of bed.

      • Do not get out of bed without help from staff if you feel weak or dizzy.

      • Sit on the edge of your bed for a few minutes before you stand up. This helps prevent dizziness.

      • Wear slippers or shoes when you get up.

      • Make sure the path to your bathroom is clear.
    7. Learn about medication safety:

      • Bring a list of all of your medicines to your doctor's appointments and to the hospital. Include vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines you take. Keep a record of vaccines you have had.

      • Understand your medicines. When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can understand it.

      • Know the correct dose, time, and reason for your medicines. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your medicine instructions.

      • Recognize your medicines: Tell your nurse right away if you notice the color, the imprint (label on the medicine), the dose, or the timing of your medicine is different than at home.

      • Tell your doctor/nurses about any allergies or side effects to medicines you have had in the past. If you feel suddenly short of breath, have a rash, hives or an itching sensation, tell your nurse right away. You may be allergic to a medicine.

      • Before you leave the hospital, you will get a Medication List from your nurse. This list should match the instructions your doctor has given you about your medicines.
    8. Learn how to use a Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump (if you have one): Patient Control Analgesia (PCA) is a helpful way to treat pain. With the push of a button, you get a set amount of pain medicine through the intravenous (IV) line in your vein. Note: For your safety, a PCA pump is for patient use only. The PCA dosing button should not be pushed by anyone else except you. Ask for help when getting out of bed if you are using a PCA pump.

    9. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating and before breastfeeding. To keep you safe, health care providers clean their hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based waterless gel before and after caring for patients.

    10. Ask the staff about our infant security program.
    11. Code Help: At CPMC, patient safety is our highest priority. Code Help is a way to provide our patients and families immediate access to help in an emergency when they feel they are not receiving adequate medical attention.
      • When to call: When a noticeable change occurs and if after speaking with the nurse or physician, you continue to have serious concerns on how care is being managed.
      • How to call: Dial O from any hospital phone and say, “I’m calling to activate Code Help.” Once activated, members of the Pediatric Rapid Response Team will arrive in your child’s room to assess the situation and address your concerns.
    12. Speak up if you have questions or concerns: Anyone who has concerns, including but not limited to patient care and/or safety, may contact the Department Manager. You may also contact CPMC’s Patient Relations Dept. at (415) 600-2814. Someone will respond within 1 business day. You have a right to file a complaint without fear of retaliation.


    13. For information on the web, visit:



    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

    Produced by the CPMC Community Health Education in association with the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: 01/14